New England Ski Resorts Relish Bountiful Snow This Season
By By Kevin Byrne, AccuWeather.com Staff Writer
February 26, 2015, 7:56:52 AM EST
While much of snowbound New England anxiously awaits the arrival of spring, ski resorts are rejoicing following the onslaught of storms that continue to bring fresh powder to the slopes.
Conditions at Killington Resort in Killington, Vermont, are “phenomenal right now,” according to Killington Communications Manager Michael Joseph. The resort has received around 170 inches of snow so far this season and is fast approaching the 196 inches it received for the entire 2013-2014 season, which stretched from October to May.
“We’ve had some consistently cold weather so we avoided a January thaw and we’ve held on to every inch we’ve gotten so far,” Joseph said.
Over the last several weeks the mountain has received 2-3 feet of snow, and Joseph said there's all different types of snow for skiers to enjoy. Joseph described freshly groomed trails, natural mogul fields and deep powdery snow throughout the mountains 745 acres of natural wooded areas.
“We’re 100 percent open and 100 percent covered in snow,” Joseph said.
Even with all the natural snow, Killington, which opened Nov. 3 and strives to have the longest season in the East, continues to make snow for their signature spring trails that they hope to keep open through April and May. In 2002, Killington was able to stay open until June, and Joseph said they are trying to reach that targeted closing again, depending on how long the cold lasts and if they can avoid significant rain in April.
Elsewhere throughout Vermont, up to 5 feet of snow have fallen in some areas following the recent train of snowstorms and an average as 15 feet have fallen at resorts throughout the state so far this season, according to Ski Vermont.
February and March are often the best months of the ski and ride season in Vermont and this year is no different with the ideal dry powder that we’ve received, Ski Vermont Director of Public Relations Sarah Wojcik said in a news release.
Vermont has already surpassed seasonal snowfall averages, and many resorts are aiming to match some of the best seasonal snowfalls if snow continues through March, which tends to be the snowiest month for the state, Wojcik told AccuWeather.com.
The past two ski seasons saw over 4.5 million skier and rider visits in Vermont, and while the final total won't be determined until June, Wojick is optimistic for a record turnout.
"This season we are looking to be pretty close to on track with those numbers, so we’re hoping for another record season," she said.
Resort in West Dover, Vermont, has already set a new February snowfall record with 76 inches, surpassing the previous record of 72 inches set in 2014. With 168 inches so far, Mount Snow has also topped its seasonal snowfall average of 166 inches.
"So far this season, the skiing has been fantastic with the frequent snowfall," Marketing Manager Dave Meeker said.
While Meeker said they are prepared to make snow if necessary, they haven't had to use their snow guns for the last three weeks.
"It just hasn’t stopped snowing, it’s pretty much every single day," Meeker said. "On a day when it doesn’t snow, it’s actually kind of weird."
Six feet of fresh snow have fallen this season at Pats Peak Ski Area in Henniker, New Hampshire, and its guests are proclaiming the best conditions of the season, said Lori Rowell, director of marketing and sales for Pats Peak.
The snow is arriving at precisely the right time too. Last week was Presidents week when many Massachusetts schools schedule winter breaks, and this week many New Hampshire schools will have winter vacations, according to Rowell.
“We definitely appreciate having ample snowfall right before the February vacation week,” Rowell said, adding that all 28 of the mountain's trails are open.
Gunstock Mountain Resort in Gilford, New Hampshire, has been so pleased with the conditions, that it offered asylum to famed winter prognosticator Punxsutawney Phil. Earlier this month, police in Merrimack, New Hampshire issued an arrest warrant for the groundhog.
“He told several people that winter would last six more weeks; however, he failed to disclose that it would consist of mountains of snow!” the police department said on its Facebook page.
“The entire team is thrilled with the great snow conditions that Phil has predicted," Gunstock replied on its Facebook page, adding that the snow is the best New Hampshire has seen in years.
Bill Quigley, director of marketing for Gunstock, said it was all sheer fun and a light-hearted way to put a smile on people's faces during this harsh winter and that season pass holders are thrilled with the conditions.
"The next couple of weeks should be strong, but I think it’s going to set up for a phenomenal amount of spring skiing in March when people can get out there and the days are longer and the snow’s still soft," Quigley said.
"If we can get [Punxsutawney Phil] to deliver six more weeks of winter every February, I think all of our season pass holders and all the skiers in New England would be happier than you could believe," he said.
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